Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Update on the Vaccinations of the Monks on Mount Athos

Below is an update to my last post, due to popular request.

The Pfizer vaccines arrived at the Karyes Health Center on Friday and the vaccinations started immediately, and they should be completed within a week.

The second dose is scheduled for within the first ten days of April.

About 500 people, mostly monks, but also lay people who have been living on Mount Athos for a long time, have received the vaccine so far.

However, experts estimate that the vaccinations will far exceed 1,000 based on popular interest, though it is believed it won't be till May that  so many vaccines will be available.

In the first phase, priority has been given to older people and those who have underlying diseases.

The majority of the monks still have hesitations, some will not be given a blessing by their superiors to receive the vaccine because they don't believe it's necessary, and there are some zealots who wholeheartedly believe the conspiracy theories about the vaccine and may not even believe the virus exists at all.
It is estimated that, after the completion of the second dose of vaccinations, shortly before Easter, Mount Athos will be able to accept a controlled number of pilgrims, as there will be no more serious danger for monks who belong to the "dangerous threat" categories.

The measures against the pandemic have had a serious impact, among other things, on the finances of the Holy Monasteries, but also of the Holy Community, and the forecasts for 2021 are extremely ominous.